"Live the questions now."

   " Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer." - Rainer Maria Rilke

"Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer." - Rainer Maria Rilke

One of my favorite blogs, On Being, recently reminded me of the beautiful quote above, from Rainer Maria Rilke's Letters to a Young Poet. The idea has promise for those wading through complicated uncertainties in work and life. And that means all of us, right?

We may question our career trajectories, how to lead authentically, organizational strategies, ethical responsibilities, or the deeper meaning of our work. Or, perhaps the questions are more intimate: how to be happy in our relationships, where to find humor in adversity, whether we can survive grief, and how to face danger with courage.

Such questions are paramount - and a simple fact of life. Too often, we must bumble along without the tidy answers we seek. There simply isn't time to discover clarity, or so it would seem in the case of our toughest conundrums. So, we keep walking. We put one foot in front of the other. We forge ahead.

However, there is bumbling, and there is bumbling. In both cases, we are groping in the dark, but in only one do we hold a candle. Knowing the questions - and living them - can shed a little light.

So...

Live the questions.

Consider them, sit with them, and hold them close as you face your decisions. 

The most important among them will expand in depth, complexity, and intensity before they can be answered. So, let them morph. And, whatever they become, resist the temptation to silence them.

Along the way, you will find community in both the questions themselves and in the very idea of living them. There is joy in sharing the weight of unanswered questions with compatible souls.

In living the questions, you may begin to understand (though never master) the answers. 


Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.
— Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet